Few people know that the natural color of the Japanese tatami is, in fact, green.

It is only with wear and sunlight that it becomes its trademark straw-yellow color.

All right, everybody knows that. Especially around here, where Eriko gave me her usual demeaning laugh when, upon my discovery that every patch of tatami that had remained covered by furniture so far, was much greener than the rest, I suggested mould.

Crazy stuff, I know…

Oh, and the free-falling posting rate? What can I say, critical sense is a bitch.

Seriously: once you start actually wondering twice whether what you are about to type is worth the time, or if you shouldn’t instead run to the local combini to see if they got any new seasonal flavored beer… that’s the end of it all.

So, I thought I could keep it like that for a while: avoiding updates and ignoring my blog as much as possible. However I was just contacted by the Technorati Top 100 Blogger Consortium‘s lawyers, threatening to sue on the ground that I am currently infringing on the “blog” trademark by misleadingly labeling this pathetic excuse for a website as such.

According to their cease and desist letter, I am failing to qualify for the Blog©®™ appellation by not complying with Article 1 of the International Blogging Treaty which stipulates that:

Posting rate must be above 6 posts per day. Of which at least:

  • Two must contain pictures of the household pet (can be replaced by household baby or infant if pet unavailable).
  • One must discuss extensively local weather condition and give poorly supported previsions regarding upcoming season change.
  • Two must give a detailed recount of daily office job routine as well as minutiae of every meal ingested during day.
  • Three must contain more than 5 words (though a maximum of two monosyllabic entries is allowed).

International Blogging Treaty, article 1

The fact that I happened to comply with alinea 2 of Article 1, they added, was no excuse for the shortcomings of this site in the other areas: I had to rectify this situation or face the legal consequences.

Not one to be intimidated by such threats, I immediately contacted the dissident United Blogger Syndicate for advice. They assured me that the requirements enounced in Article 1 were absolutely not mandatory.

Picture CIMG0294.jpg I usually do avoid the whole party report thing, hope you do realize that…
Mostly because I know that, unless you have been drinking free booze all night long, it just isn’t that interesting to hear. Beside, we all have too many snorting-blow-off-hooker’s-tits stories to go around… don’t need any more, do we?

However, tonight was particularly fun, as we were joined for the evening by Jus’ new beau and his friend/colleague, both professional Pride fighters. Following the stereotypical anti-stereotype that wants all massive professional killers to be cuddly huggy-bears in private life, they were absolutely adorable, and quite fun to be around…

So we had Andre the Giant (and in case you are wondering, all the other people on the above picture were already fairly tall) and Justine’s very own Shrek the peaceful ogre.

I must say having them around made the whole Metropolis gaijin meat-market shindig much less boring…
Oh and by the way: that chick, let me venture she didn’t exactly win the prize on the research and effort put into her costume… then again, I can only guess: by the time we made it there, she was merely strutting around the vip lounge in a mini-bra and a glittery piece of fabric that barely managed to hide her g-string….

Picture choco-potato-chips.jpg If I tell you “Milk Chocolate-Coated Potato Chips”… the first thing coming to your mind might be: “Japan!“…
(a close second being “gross!”, if you are not into experimental gastronomy).

And you’d be dead wrong. On both counts.

Come on now, I hope this is not the kind of low standards you’ve grown to expect from this blog: if it was indeed made in Japan, it would at the very least be peppered with nori shreds or sold in giant heart-shaped boxes covered in pictures of sickeningly cute bunnies and atomic vampire robots (yea. both)…

Not in this quaint, sober, nearly tasteful, two-tone, Pringle-style, cylinder box.

No. Let’s be serious: Japanese researchers probably stumbled upon some variation of the Milk Chocolate-Coated Potato Chip (with extra wasabi flavor as an option) decades ago and quickly canned it as way too tame for the domestic market.

American researchers, on the other hand, immediately saw the full potential of such a symbiosis…

All conspiracy theories apart, one cannot help but wonder about the hidden motives of a corporation whose food product combines, in one single ingredient, the two most addictive substances known to Man: Chocolate and Pringles.

Quite obviously somebody has been greasing a few hands at the FDA to slip that one through…

And the kicker? Masako brought this back from SF as a typical sample of them wacky American foodstuff…
ミルクチョコレートポテトチップス。変な日本の食べ物?
違うアメリカから!
もう変なですけども。。。

The French tend to consider that, in order to become a talented writer, one has to spend their days in smoke-filled cafés, possibly while drinking oneself blind on exotic liquors.
Americans think the secret to becoming a good author lies in bullet lists of writing techniques and prestigious writing classes.

I am no writer (understatement if there ever was one), but something tells me they are both dead wrong.

Then again, I do not think Dan Brown is much of an author, to say nothing of the hordes of navel-gazing, bored & boring, Parisian writers who persists in trying to give their worst second-class Bret Easton Ellis rendition every single year… So what do I know…

At long last, Friedrich speaks his mind on the blogging world…

Just came across this oh-so-timely paragraph (line-breaks inserted for clarity purposes, emphasis mine):

Einsamkeit lernen. – Oh, ihr armen Schelme in den grossen Städten der Weltpolitik, ihr jungen, begabten, vom Ehrgeiz gemarterten Männer, welche es für ihre Pflicht halten, zu allen Begebenheiten – es begiebt sich immer Etwas – ihr Wort zu sagen!
Welche, wenn sie auf diese Art Staub und Lärm machen, glauben, der Wagen der Geschichte zu sein!
Welche, weil sie immer horchen, immer auf den Augenblick passen, wo sie ihr Wort hineinwerfen können, jede ächte Productivität verlieren! Mögen sie auch noch so begehrlich nach grossen Werken sein: die tiefe Schweigsamkeit der Schwangerschaft kommt nie zu ihnen!
Das Ereigniss des Tages jagt sie wie Spreu vor sich her, während sie meinen, das Ereigniss zu jagen, – die armen Schelme! – Wenn man einen Helden auf der Bühne abgeben will, darf man nicht daran denken, Chorus zu machen, ja, man darf nicht einmal wissen, wie man Chorus macht.
Friedrich Nietzsche – Morgenröte – 177

Unfortunately, any online version of the English text I could find somehow skipped many paragraphs (including this one), so I will have to give my own weak attempt at a translation. Bear with me, as I have no claim on native-level fluency in German:

Oh you poor fools living in the metropolises of world politics, you gifted, tortured by ambition, young men, who consider it your duty to give your word about every passing events – and there is always one!
Who, when you have made much dust and noise that way, think you are History’s driving force!
Who, always on the lookout, always waiting for the moment where you will be able to slip your word, lose any real productivity!
No matter how much you yearn for major accomplishment, the deep silence of maturation never comes to you! The day’s news chases you like a chaff in the wind, while you think you are the one chasing it – you poor fools!
When one wants to play the Hero’s part onstage, he should not think of being in the chorus, he should not even know how to speak in chorus.
(Friedrich Nietzsche – Daybreak also known as the Dawn – 177)

[if any of our dear Saxon readers has any suggestion for improvement, please go ahead]

Have you noticed how common it is to receive professional corporate e-mails that show absolutely no respect whatsoever for basic typographic rules?
And I don’t mean such nitpicking as whether periods and question marks go inside or outside quotes: I’m talking full-on spacing chaos (either dozen of whitespace before and after every single item of punctuation, or inversely, not a single space for the whole paragraph), with the occasional (though thankfully rare) ALL CAPS EMAIL every now and then.
While I do not expect spam or random newbie mails to be jewels of typography, it is always a bit unsettling to receive such loosely typed e-mails from people who’ve supposedly been exercising higher-exec positions for up to a few decades sometimes…

I think the explanation is precisely there: none of these people are used to typing their own mails. Up until this fateful era where typists have been replaced by MS Word, nobody above the rank of manager would have ever condescended to type his own mail. Maybe a quick draft by hand, but that’s about as far as it would go. As for formatting and typography: this was the secretary’s job.

Ironically, nowadays, even CEOs of multi-billion dollars companies have to occasionally type emails by themselves. And obviously, they were never told not to put spacing before a period.

That reminds me of such a man who justified his absolute refusal to carry a cellphone thus: by answering your own phone, you are basically doing your secretary’s job, and lowering yourself in the face of business partners. Sheer brattiness aside (I guess he could afford to be a brat, at least by his own standard of success), he had a point: at the time, by adopting this nifty new gadget, businessmen were virtually downgrading their standing, since even the most common peon could break in their higher spheres of power and reach them directly at any time of day or night without fear of being filtered by a zealous assistant.

As for our cellphone-adverse gentleman: he held strong and never accepted to carry a portable communication device on his person. And thankfully never lived to see the cell-phone boom of the following decade.

I still remember one of the last Discovery Channel-style epiphany that occurred to me before I overdosed on Physics and the mere mention of the word started sending me into irrepressible fits of maniacal laughter:

While studying the effect of high-voltage electrical current on molecular geometry, our professor mentioned in passing that this was, in essence, what happened in the skies before (and during) your typical thunderstorm: oxygen molecules (O2) would get dissociated into unstable atomic oxygen that would recombine with more O2 to make ozone (O3). Ozone being much more dense than molecular oxygen then proceeds to fall straight to the ground where it reaches the unsuspecting layman’s nostrils.

So that lovely and unique smell that fills the air just before a Summer storm like right now is the smell of ozone.

Science is, indeed, a wonderful thing.

Update: Scott’s insightful contribution and some more amusing scientific facts about Ozone, in the comment section.